Abstract of My PhD

Governance & Post-Statist Security:
The Politics of US and Norwegian Foreign Aid for Demining in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Sudan

Abstract of PhD dissertation in the Department of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science

(c) Matthew Bolton 2008

While governance has traditionally been the realm of states, new “Emerging Political Complexes,” as Mark Duffield calls them, incorporate networks of public and private actors. These networks of governance come in two competing ideal types:

a) strategic-commercial complexes, shaped largely by the interests of a privileged few, in which militarized and securitized public bodies contract out significant authority to commercial contractors. Security is derived from the fortification of private enclaves – a division of the world into ‘Green’ and ‘Red’ Zones, and

b) human security-civil society complexes, shaped by humanitarian norms and a more global understanding of interest, in which public and multilateral agencies form partnerships with NGOs and social movements. They aim to diffuse protection out from the secure core to the insecure periphery through aid, advocacy, persuasion and the development of legal norms.

This PhD examines the effects and impact of these two approaches in managing and neutralizing the threat of landmines and unexploded ordnance. At the donor level, it compares the US and Norway, arguing that Norway, working with NGOs, churches and other small states, has been at the forefront of efforts to ban landmines and cluster munitions, whereas the US has resisted tight regulation. Moreover, US funding of clearance and mitigation programs often was shaped by narrow strategic interests and favored a commercially-driven process. In contrast, Norway’s programs, implemented through international NGOs, were shaped more by more global conceptions of interest and normative commitments to humanitarianism, multilateralism and international law.

At the level of implementation in mine and ordnance-affected countries – Afghanistan, Bosnia and Sudan – the PhD argues that Norwegian long-term grants to international NGOs produced demining that, while more expensive and slower, was better targeted on humanitarian priorities, safer and of better quality. Such programs also attempted to build inclusive institutions and resist the politics of violence. In contrast, US efforts, often driven by strategic concerns and tendered out to commercial companies, were cheaper and faster but also less safe and of lower quality. These companies were also embedded in the political economy of war and may have contributed to the fragmentation of the public monopoly on force.

~ by Matthew Bolton on 14 January 2009.

One Response to “Abstract of My PhD”

  1. […] and safer. I heard many representatives of donor agencies repeating this line too. However, in my quantitative and qualitative PhD research at the London School of Economics I found that this conventional wisdom was not quite so straightforward. Making demining more […]

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